The beds and chairs that once comforted weary travelers will find new life in the homes of local families in need.

The beds and chairs that once comforted weary travelers will find new life in the homes of local families in need.

Reynoldsburg-based Wallick Communities is transforming the former Ramada Inn at 4801 E. Broad St. into an assisted-living facility. Rather than selling the furniture inside the hotel, the company opted to donate it to charity.

Representatives from three nonprofit charities collected the donated items last week.

Staff members of Wallick Communities identified and vetted numerous nonprofit organizations and selected those the company considered best suited to use the donations to assist the central Ohio community, officials said.

The Furniture Bank of Central Ohio, Joseph's Coat and NISRE (Nothing into Something Real Estate) received the donations.

Joe Gulling, senior vice president of Wallick Communities, said the company had not previously converted a hotel and thus had no prior experience with disposal of unwanted furnishings.

"We contacted several liquidators" but did not anticipate a large sum relative to the contents, Gulling said.

"(A liquidator) could have taken it all and we might have got a check for, say, $20,000."

Gulling said the company felt the unwanted mattresses, furniture, linens and other goods could be put to better use.

Last summer, Wallick Communities established Heart of Service, an initiative to encourage its 725 employees in nine states to support charity and participate in community-enriching programs.

Joan Sekinger, purchasing director for Wallick Communities, said the company's local Heart of Service committee made the arrangements to donate the items to the selected nonprofit organizations.

"Because we have such a committee, we were able to do this," said Sekinger, adding the committee strove to choose organizations that would make the items available to people in need for free, rather than organizations that would sell the items.

"We thought this was a great way to help individuals in need," Gulling said.

"This donation will help us tremendously," said Nancy Becker, president of the board of directors of Joseph's Coat.

The organization was founded in 2003 at Messiah Lutheran Church in Reynoldsburg and first operated from a garage.

Since then, four other churches have joined as supporting members and the organization now rents an office on Outerbelt Street on Columbus' east side.

Those seeking assistance must complete an application that includes, in part, a birth certificate or proof of guardianship of children. Some benefits are limited; for instance, children can receive only one coat or pair of shoes per season, Becker said.

"Those we help include people in homeless shelters or people burned out of apartments that lack the basic needs to restart ... (or) sometimes grandparents who suddenly find they have grandchildren at home full time," she said.

Becker said there is a great demand for mattresses and box springs.

"Often, we don't have enough ... so the donation will help us help others," Becker said.

The donation precedes construction work at the site that will begin by the end of the month.

The 81,000-square-foot Ramada Inn has 141 rooms that will be converted into 131 suites. Wallick Communities will invest about $17.3 million to see the project to its fruition, including a purchase price of about $2 million, about $8.4 million in hard construction, and additional costs to outfit and refurnish the renovated facility.